A New Tradition of
BUILDING dangerous nuclear power plants, dumping toxic wastes, marketing unsafe drugs and cars, camouflaging huge cost overruns in the development of weapon systems, misusing public funds: these and other scandals have been legion over the last several decades. Such lawless acts are too often perpetrated by policy makers in large organizations. These bureaucracies, which employ thousands of people, are organized hierarchically, and their leaders demand complete conformity and loyalty from their employees. 1 Most workers do what their superiors require and assume that someone up the line will take responsibility for the safety of the product and the legality of the organization's actions.
But some employees have been unwilling to be so compliant. A few have dared to take an active and vociferous stand against practices they have witnessed that threaten to defraud or endanger the public. By following the path of protest, these men and women have forged a new tradition of dissent during the past quarter of a century. In refusing to succumb to the easy path of conformity or to be dissuaded by the retaliation of management, employees have risked their lives, their careers, and their